I often think that the Christmas path has lost its way a little in the fast paced tangly woods of life. The amount children expect or the gifts we feel we have to buy, seem to be out of all proportion. No longer one mindful gift but often a few less thoughtful ones and we end up spending more than we would have liked, too. The festive season should be a time of love, sharing and acts of kindness. So on this thought I would like to suggest that for at least one person, you give a homemade present. This could be anything from a winter’s day wreath, crafted from willow or clematis twigs, decorated with autumn leaves. It could be a beautiful homemade box filled with woodland treasures. Remember our tremendous little craft shop in town from which you can get any paper, ribbons or glues you may need! My ultimate choice, though, has to be food, as you may have guessed! Festive biscuits wrapped in iridescent tissue or in a large kilner jar – keep an eye on freecycle for those – bottled fruits look beautiful and luxurious with a homemade gift tag or some potted cheese or pate. In fact most foods can be wrapped with a wow factor to give to someone and imbued with the love that should be present during this festive time.
Take 300g plain flour and 100g golden caster sugar. Rub in 220g cold butter. Add the juice and zest of an orange and squeeze the mix together to form a shortbread dough. Roll out to 1/2cm thick and stamp out festive shapes. Place on a baking sheet and make a hole in the top big enough for ribbon. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden. Cool, thread with ribbon then turn back time by decorating with lots of sparkly things. Pack up beautifully and pass on the festive spirit!